To visit Florence It involves spending the day among museums and iconic places in the history of art. But if we need to take a break, rest from Stendhal syndrome after seeing so much beauty, would there be any other morning or evening chores? Any place to eat surrounded by Florentines? Here are a few ideas that allow you to experience the many facets of the city.
It is difficult not to feel like a tourist in Florence, but it is not impossible, especially if we approach the area of Sant’Ambrogio. To the east of the historical-artistic heart is this neighborhood whose market is full of life. In addition to cheese stalls with pistachios or stuffed rooster necks, here is the tiny Trattoria da Rocco, which is loved by travelers and locals alike thanks to its Tuscan recipes. Two steps away is the Mercato delle Pulci (flea market), a recently opened group of antique shops and auction houses.
If we want joy, we must go to eat at La Cucina del Ghianda. At noon it works like tavola calda: In view of the diners, several first and second courses are offered with their garnishes to choose from, always at affordable prices. A good opportunity to try Florentine pappa al pomodoro, a warm soup that has bread crumbs, tomato and basil among its main ingredients.
Another option is to opt for eating on the street: the food trucks in the Italian city they have been in vogue all their lives. Tripperia Pollini it is the most popular; it is close to Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio Florentines flock to him to nourish themselves on juicy casqueria in the form of sandwiches of trippa and of lampredotto, close cousins of Spanish tripe.
The great gastronomic-cultural institution of the neighborhood is Cyber, which in addition to a restaurant has opened a large deli and handicrafts with a rooftop terrace. From the same owner — Fabio Picchi, a celebrity in Florence — is the Sale TheaterMany of its musical shows are led by the diva Maria Cassi, singer and comedian with a cabaret tinge. Further east we find the monumental complex of Le Murate, an old prison and a revitalized convent for the citizens. There, in the middle of the Piazza delle Murate, wait for the Caffè Letterario, perfect for drinking cocktails and participating in literary events and concerts.
In the shopping section, to avoid bringing a statuette of the David by Michelangelo in fluorescent colors, you must visit Pegna dal 1860, a food store opened in that year where they sell honey from all over Italy, liquorice chocolate, Sicilian mandarin jam and a thousand other delicacies. Or maybe, after a couple of days in the country, it’s time to dare to read a book in Italian. Even if it wasn’t, you have to visit All Mode, where you can also find exquisite gifts for those who love books and writing. Run by the very kind Pietro and Maddalena, pure Florentines, this bookstore, which is also a cafe and restaurant, is a very tasty meeting point. At noon, the menu is prepared by a Japanese chef who winks at other cuisines of the world, in case one gets tired of Italianness.
South of the Arno
Florence is crossed by the Arno River. Visitors who are in a hurry focus on the northern part, but when crossing the river, on the area called Oltrarno, there is also a lot to see. Its main points of artistic interest are the Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Garden and the Santo Spirito church, where the young Miguel Ángel learned anatomical drawing thanks to the corpses of the hospital belonging to the monastery. A few meters away, they await the La Cité coffee shop and the jazz club NoF.
Evening falls, where to go? You can cross the Arno again and visit the public library of the Monastero delle Oblate. In addition to reading or listening to music in its rooms, in its cloister there is a cafe with views of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore. Another option is to go to the cinema (still closed due to the pandemic), but to a one-of-a-kind theater, the Cinema Odeon, next to the Plaza de la República. Everything, from the lockers to the stalls, has a vintage charm increasingly rare on the planet.
At seven in the afternoon the ritual of the apericena: when ordering a drink, which may very well be a spritz, many bars include a tasty all-you-can-eat buffet for around 10 euros. Among them stands out Soul kitchen, whose name in English can mislead since inside they serve 100% Italian recipes. But to stretch your little finger of pure refinement you have to enter the nineteenth century Procacci winery, a tiny place where delicacies abound, specifically its famous panini tartufati, some microbreads stuffed with truffle pate. And as the end of the party you can have a drink in the imposing space of La Ménagère, an old porcelain factory next to the Palazzo Medici Riccardi.